Russell saddened by lack of cricket in Jamaica

West Indies Andre Russell bowls during a practice session in Gros Islet, St. Lucia.
Associated Press / Andres Leighton, file

West Indies Twenty20 star Andre Russell has expressed disappointment with the lack of Caribbean Premier League and Twenty20 World Cup matches in Jamaica this year.

The country will host no CPL games after Jamaica Tallawahs pulled out of the competition due to a lack of government support, while Jamaica was not among Caribbean countries bidding to host matches in the June 1-29 ICC showpiece.

Russell said a proud cricketing nation like Jamaica possessed all the elements required for attracting international cricket.

“With no cricket playing in Jamaica, it’s just sad,” said Jamaican Russell.

“An historic ground (Sabina Park), such a proper facility, good batting wicket, good for bowling and then CPL won’t be here, I just think it’s very sad for the island.

“I can’t express how disappointed I am to know that not even two World Cup games won’t be here. I think the government has to do something about this,” said Russell.

He added: “They need to look into certain things. They can’t support certain sports and just forget about cricket.

“We have produced some of the best players in the world — Test cricket, T20 and all of that, so I’m very disappointed in all these things that are happening.”

It was confirmed recently that Tallawahs, one of the leading CPL franchises would not feature in this year’s tournament, after the owners sold the entity back to the league. They were replaced by Antigua Hawksbills in the league, a franchise that featured in the opening two seasons of the CPL.

There was also public outcry last year when Jamaica had not bid for any T20 World Cup matches, with the government saying it had made a responsible decision based on a sound cost-benefit analysis.

Russell said the lack of matches in the country posed a threat to cricket development.

“If cricket is not playing here and the exposure is not happening I think it’s going to be difficult,” said the 35-year-old all-rounder.

Last month, West Indies T20 Cарtain Rovman Powell urged talks between the Jamaica government and Cricket West Indies in order to have the situation addressed.